Just off the iconic 7th St of Melville, between tropical plants and tiki torches is Tiny Tiki itself, with the cutest little piggy doing the hula in a grass skirt on the logo. This is Tiki territory, where rum and Sailor Jerry tattoos collide with pineapples and pink mini-umbrellas, where fruit juice and fragrant spices beguile island senses. It’s where luscious drinks are sipped from ceramic tiki mugs with images of Polynesian gods like Kauhuhu and Lolo.
Behind the flamingos and leis, the food is Brinner. Yup, breakfast all day and also for dinner. And all eight brinners feature bacon. All the organic bacon is cured and aged in-house has its own signature cut and delicious house-glazes. In fact, all the food is made from scratch, responsibly sourced, the eggs free-range organic, the brioche made fresh every day, serious kimchi made seriously, all mayonnaise and aioli made on the premises. Now we know why these dishes are so darn good.
If you walk left out of Tiny Tiki you’ll be in the place of the trendy Ginger Barberian and he may snip your curls.
If you turn right, you’ll be crossing the Pacific Ocean in a way, because you’re going down a passage to the Anti-social Social Club, where the food and drinks are more western Pacific, more eastern in vibe to us, to the lands of the tiger and the islands of other gods. This is a place of even further flavour adventure.
It’s designed to be comforting to all souls, a place where people who think they don’t fit in, fit in. It’s their safe haven in a sometimes scary city.
Here women are often bartenders, the loos are wheelchair friendly. In fact, it’s all friendly and very tummy-friendly too.
The food, all eight dishes, is five-out-of-five good, astonishing. Everything, again, is made from scratch, every sauce, everything pickled here, baked here, created here. All the food at the two places (including the bacon) was designed by the Jewish chef and the owners, who are millennial perfectionists, all of them.
The places may seem whimsical but the food is unbelievably good in its own right. Compare it with the best restaurants in Johannesburg. Easily.
The eight drinks are in a new category of excellence, with amazing details like an ice poppy that holds homemade pearls (or vegan caviar) of bitters, too beautiful to behold. There are no boring drinks at the Anti-social Social Club.
Alex Szabo, one of the three owners, knows Melville like he knows himself, since he’s worked in most bars there. He also won the Gauteng regionals of the Monin Cup competition in 2018 and now, here, he’s finally committed:
“The fruity, happy, carefree thing is part of the vibe.”
How it all started in 2016 was with a mobile bar and the concepts tumbled together rather fast after an island holiday. The owners searched for the right location, for a space that could be filled with exactly what they wanted and run with all their experience. On New Years’ Day, the first of this year, they found the perfect place, while wandering the streets of Melville.
Entrance at Tiny Tiki is on the 3rd Avenue side of the corner on 7th Street, Melville. Open from 12:00 to 22:00.
Anti-social Social Club’s address is the corner of 3rd Avenue and 7th Street, Melville. Open from 16:00 to late.